• Written by Winter Patriot

Mission Accomplished! Attacks in Iraq at highest levels ever!!

The International Herald Tribune says

Nearly 1,000 insurgent and sectarian attacks were carried out against American and Iraqi targets every week over the last three months, the highest level ever recorded, according to a Pentagon report on security trends in Iraq that was issued Monday.

The report, which covers the period from early August to early November describes a worsening security environment in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq.

The rise in attacks, to a weekly average of 959, was a jump of nearly 200 compared with the previous three months. As a consequence, civilian casualties reached a record high, more than 90 a day, the report said. While the majority of attacks were directed at U.S. forces, most of the casualties were suffered by the Iraqi military and civilians.
That last was a compound sentence, and the "while" messed up the impact. So let's try that again.
The majority of attacks were directed at U.S. forces.

Most of the casualties were suffered by the Iraqi military and civilians.
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Tears of Rage, Tears of Grief: Mass Death Returns to Ishaqi

by Chris Floyd

This is my latest piece for Truthout.org.

I. Rashomon in Iraq

Mass death came again to the Iraqi town of Ishaqi last Friday. Nine months after an American raid that killed 11 civilians, including five children under the age of five, another ground and air assault on suspected insurgents in the area left behind a pile of corpses, including at least two children. As with the earlier incident, Friday's attack has produced conflicting stories of what really happened, but the end result is clear: a multitude of grieving, angry Iraqis further embittered against the American occupation.

The latest Ishaqi attack – with "only" 20 fatalities – is of course a mere sideshow in the garish carnival of death that is Iraq today. But in many respects it is a microcosm of the largely unseen reality of the war that grinds on day after day behind the obscuring fog of political rhetoric enshrouding both Washington and Baghdad. In this return to Ishaqi, we find many of the elements that have kept Iraq an open, gaping wound with little chance for healing: constant airstrikes on populated civilian areas, iron-fisted house raids, propaganda ploys, dubious intelligence, disdain for the locals – and the employment of mysterious units that may be blended with government-run (even American-run) death squads.

So what happened on December 9 in the village of Taima in the Ishaqi district, on the shores of Lake Tharthar? The official U.S. military version states that unidentified "Coalition Forces" entered the village shortly after midnight and targeted a location "based on intelligence reports that indicated associates with links to multiple al-Qaeda in Iraq networks were operating in the area." During a search, they took heavy fire from a nearby building. Returning fire, they killed "two armed terrorists" but couldn't quell the attack, so they called in an airstrike that killed "18 more armed terrorists," including two women. Of the latter, the military press release said that "al-Qaeda in Iraq has both men and women supporting and facilitating their operations unfortunately." The unspecified raiders then uncovered a cache of terrorist arms which they photographed and subsequently destroyed.

The identification of the victims as terrorists was made through a "battle damage assessment," said U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver. "If there is a weapon with or next to the person or they are holding it, they are a terrorist," he said.

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  • Written by Dave Lindorff

Innocents Abroad: US Cracks Down on Guantanamo Detainees, Most of Whom aren't Terrorists

by Dave Lindorff

The U.S. is holding hundreds of innocent people at its detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Military authorities at Guantanamo have decided to tighten the screws on detainees because it has been determined that the U.S. has been too kind and accommodating to them.

If you find those two sentences jarring and contradictory, you’re not alone, yet both were leading news items in today's newspapers. The first appeared in a page one story in of the Philadelphia Inquirer by Associated Press reporter Andrew O. Selsky, which said most of the detainees are innocent of any crime. The second was a page one story in the New York Times by reporter Tim Golden, who reported on a harsh crackdown on Guantanamo detainees, including removal of common eating privileges, inmate soccer games, and incentives for good behavior by prisoners.

Selsky, who traced what happened to 245 of some 360 Guantanamo detainees released by the U.S., found that 205 of them, upon arriving in their countries of origin, were immediately released, after their home governments determined that they were, after all, not dangerous terrorists. According to Selsky, all 83 Afghan captives sent back to Afghanistan were freed after the government there determined that most had simply been turned over to American forces because of "tribal or personal rivalries" and to collect ransoms being offered by US forces.

Pakistan released 67 of 70 Pakistani captives returned to that country after it was determined they too were "innocent." Add a comment

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  • Written by William Bowles

Serious Fraud

by William Bowles

Karl MarxI have this image of Karl Marx living in a squat somewhere, laptop on knees, googling info and pouring out reams of writing on the state of capitalism. It’s anybody’s guess what comrade Karl would have done with tools such as we now possess, but I am sure he would have been leader of the pack if his use of the British Library is anything to go by. Das Kapital for example, has references to over 450 books, indeed someone has compiled a book just of the reference sources he used in just one book!

Yet in an age of exploding communications where we now possess the tools to effectively challenge the dominant culture’s control of information, it is more than a little ironic that we find ourselves bereft of the traditional tools of political action that in days past would have enabled us to more effectively exploit these new conditions.

130 and more, years ago, the Reds of the day truly thought that capitalism’s days were numbered. Then in the months and years that followed the Bolshevik revolution, capitalism’s days looked truly up once more. And yet again, following the Crash of ‘29 many were convinced that the demise of the great god Mammon was just around the corner.
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  • Written by Linda Milazzo

The Dissapperance of George P. Bush

by Linda Milazzo

It was the year 2000. The new millennium. It featured a rising new star from a prominent American family. His name was George. George P. Remember George P.? The incessantly publicized and promoted son of Florida's Governor Bush? The most dominant face of George W. Bush's 2000 Presidential campaign?

George P. was everywhere. Enticing the wealthy. Hugging the poor. Kissing elderly ladies, winning the hearts of adoring young girls. George P. was the bait. The lure. And America was his catch of the day. In our multi-cultural nation, this blended prince encompassed the best of America's two prominent landscapes: the ever-growing Latino population and the doggedly dominant Anglo. The half that was Anglo spanned generations of wealth and power. The half that was Latin softened his ego, making his combination just "right."

The media couldn't get enough of George P. He was the "fourth-coming." The likely successor to the mantle of the multi-generational dynasty whose fortune had amassed in unorthodox ways. Of course the unorthodox ways were of no interest to the press, whose sole focus was on the contentious election for the first President of the new millennium. The 2000 Presidential election was the nation's most divisive in history. It tore at the fabric of its democracy, tarnished the Supreme Court, and damaged the electoral system for decades, if not centuries to come.
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  • Written by Tom Chartier

Suicide Poker or… Arabian Roulette?

by Tom Chartier

International wheelings and dealings are like a complex game of poker where the nations playing don’t know how many cards are in the deck. Everybody hides aces up their sleeves. Everybody bluffs. Double-dealing is rife. Some sit quietly with their poker faces and wait for the best time to call. Others posture and strut. Some players excel and some can’t tell their ace from a hole in the ground.

The U.S. adventure in the Middle East has been a mind-boggling display of inept gamesmanship. Indeed, to our Great Decider it has seemed to be little more than a game all along. With the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, President Bush laid his cards on the table expecting to rake in all the chips of oil and laurels of victory to transform the frat-boy into the Great Liberator thus securing a glorious chapter in the history books. As we have seen, frat-boy’s hand contained garbage.

So Bush the Elder stepped in to save Bush the Lesser with some better players, James Baker, Lee Hamilton and Robert Gates. The Iraq Study Group thinks they know how to play the game and they have handed the dealer a new, stacked deck of cards with which Bush the Lesser can, theoretically, play to win.

Arrogance, greed, and ignorance have described Bush’s method of play in the Middle East. He and his neocon string-pullers have been playing as if they had magic X-ray glasses to see through everyone’s cards.
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  • Written by Dave Lindorff

Democratic Control of the Senate is a Double-Edged Sword

by Dave Lindorff

Let’s stop all the heavy breathing.

While Republican vultures hover shamelessly over the hospital where Sen. Tim Johnson, the South Dakota Democrat remains in critical condition following emergency brain surgery, progressives are in a lather worrying that if Johnson doesn't recover, or if he dies, South Dakota's Republican governor would appoint a Republican to finish out his term, handing control of the U.S. Senate back to the just ousted Republican Party.

There were fears of the same possible outcome back in early November, when pseudo-Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT), defeated in an August primary for his party's nomination, succeeded in winning re-election running as an independent. It was feared--and to some extent is still feared--that Lieberman could jump over to the GOP in January, handing Republicans control of the Senate. Lieberman has played this fear like a virtuoso violinist, wresting a promise that he will chair the Homeland Security Committee in the 110th Congress if he stays in the party fold.

Progressives should take a deep breath and relax, though. The truth is, all this angst is really just about Democratic Senators looking to maintain their own newfound power and their own marketability to the big donors who they hope will fill their campaign coffers. If they lose control of the Senate, and don't get to chair all those committees and subcommittees, they don't get the big bucks. Add a comment

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  • Written by Heather Wokusch

It’s Not Just Bush: We’re Accountable Too

by Heather Wokusch
Click on arrow to listen to Heather's Podcast here: {mmp3ex}www.heatherwokusch.com/podcasts/We_Are_Accountable_Too_48KBs.mp3{/mmp3ex}

Blaming everything on a handful of people at the top, no matter how destructive and abusive they’ve been, misses a critical point. Systems tend to self-perpetuate. Remove one player and the next comes in to ensure business as usual.

Remove Rumsfeld, a man who helped prop up Hussein in the 80’s and skewed intelligence towards war, and who do you get? Robert Gates, a man who helped prop up Hussein in the 80’s and skewed intelligence towards war.

Replacing those in power won’t help if the power structure itself doesn’t change. And that means addressing how our own actions maintain this dysfunctional system.

Decades ago, Rumsfeld and Cheney hoodwinked the American people with fearmongering lies about Soviet military capability, setting the country on a path of paranoia and weapons build-up. 911 let them pull the exact same trick again, with a public more focused on macho vigilantism than on facts and diplomacy.

But the dirty little secret remains: a combative foreign policy requires perpetual conflict. After all, tough-talking cowboys and weapons manufacturers have little value in times of peace, so it’s in their interest to foment never-ending strife. Maybe that’s why top Pentagon strategist Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark O. Schissler recently warned Americans to prepare for a 50-100 year “generational war.” “generational war.”  Add a comment

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  • Written by Anwaar Hussain

No Mr. Buckley, No

by Anwaar Hussain,


Dear Mr. Buckley, 

Writing in National Review Online in February 2006, you William F. Buckley Jr. its Editor at Large and a diehard conservative icon, admitted that the U.S. mission in Iraq has failed but gave the following reason for the disaster;

“Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans…………they have not been able to contend against the ice men who move about in the shadows with bombs and grenades and pistols.”

No Mr. Buckley, no. You are muddying the water.

Since your chant has now been taken up by many Cons, Neocons and Repubs, the record must be set straight.

Mr. Buckley, your great country went to war with a nation that was already impoverished by more than 20 years of war and American led, UN-imposed sanctions. The immediate aftermath of the war found the traumatized Iraqi society without a recognized head of state or a working administration with well over 70 highly fragmented political parties pulling their unfortunate country in every which way. 

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  • Written by Mike Whitney

Bush makes a “Clean Break” with the Baker Plan

by Mike Whitney

“Pressure from the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in 2003, but it was critical. Some Americans believe that this was a war for oil, but there is hardly any direct evidence to support this claim. Instead, the war was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure.” (“The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt)

Poor Ehud Olmert.

A couple of weeks ago every thing was hunky-dory. The Palestinian death-toll had just topped 400, 1,000 or so homes had been demolished by Israeli bulldozers, the main power station in Gaza had been knocked-out, the blockade of food and medicine was still going strong, and the IDF was gearing up for another rampagethrough the occupied territories.

In Lebanon, Pierre Gemeyal had just been assassinated; making it easier for the US and Israel to continue hectoring Syria at the UN. And, in Iraq, the American army was busy transforming the once-vibrant Iraqi society into an ungovernable slaughterhouse headed for decades of anarchy.

All in all, things were looking pretty rosy for Olmert.
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  • Written by Mike Whitney

Bush’s Mad-dash to History’s Dustbin

by Mike Whitney

Sometimes I’m struck by the sheer enormity of Bush’s stupidity. It is truly breathtaking. After nearly 4 years of steadily-intensifying guerilla warfare with no end in sight, Bush has decided to expand the war.

Think I’m kidding?

As Robert Dreyfuss says, “The president is trying to cobble together, brick by brick, an Iraqi government that is able and willing to do what al Maliki’s can’t or won’t do: break the back of Muqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army and redouble the offensive against the Sunni-led Iraqi resistance.” (“Bush v. The Two Majorities” Robert Dreyfuss; uruknet.info)

So, now Bush figures that he’s doing so well against the Sunni resistance that he’s ready to take on the biggest Shiite militia in Iraq?

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

After all, if you’re already getting clobbered why not speed it up and get it over with fast.

This is mind-boggling!
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  • Written by Mel Seesholtz

Satanic Soy and Shrinking Penises

By Mel Seesholtz, Ph.D.

According to James Rutz, chairman of Megashift Ministries and founder-chairman of Open Church Ministries, “A devil food is turning our kids into homosexuals.” It seems Satan is lurking in… soy.

Mr. Rutz claims that “Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. That’s why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for today’s rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products.”

After you stop laughing, examine Mr. Rutz’s preposterous – not to mention totally unsupported – claims.

“Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality.” How does one even begin to respond to such nonsense? Since soy products such as tofu – which Mr. Rutz says must be completely avoided – have been traditional parts of the Chinese and other Eastern diets for over 2000 years, shouldn’t China be a totally homosexual nation by now? Similarly, since tofu is a staple in Buddhists’ vegetarian diets, shouldn’t all Buddhists be gay?

As for Mr. Rutz’s claim that soy “commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis,” one has to wonder how he came to that conclusion. Has he been conducting a longitudinal study? Has he been hands-on measuring the penises of men who got soy milk as infants or who eat tofu?
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